Agriculture researchers in Bangladesh have released a new report on climate change. They predict that if nothing is done, rice production will dramatically decline by 2050, just as the nation’s population is peaking. As a hot, low-lying, agricultural nation, Bangladesh is especially vulnerable to climate change.
Because of Bangladesh’s low elevation, small rises in sea level leach salt into farmers’ fields. Changing weather patterns damage crops. Rice – the staple food of Bangladesh – is especially at risk. Rice production is expected to fall by 3.9% a year. By 2050, in combination with population growth, that reduction will have a serious impact on food security.
According to the article on AlertNet, “Increasing climate variability is already costing Bangladesh’s economy $3 billion a year, and the financial toll could hit $121 billion for the 2005 to 2050 period.”
The government of Bangladesh has started to focus on adjusting to the change. On the resource end, this will require better water resource planning and new lower-use types of irrigation. It will also mean changing what kind of crops are grown and new varieties of older crops.
The problems confronting Bangladesh are a microcosm of what the entire planet is going to face. Its climate and low elevation mean that climate change will take its toll on Bangladesh sooner than other countries. We can learn from what works for Bangladesh to help prepare the rest of the world for the destruction brought by climate change.